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AuthorCaro Baroja, Julio
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The Basques (Los vascos) was first published in 1949, and the current edition is a translation of the third revised edition published in 1971. The Basques is a comprehensive study of Basque culture from an anthropological and historical point of view. In The Basques, Julio Caro Baroja studies Basque material culture including population center development, farming, seafaring, mining, and ironworking, as well as social structure, mentality, mythology, arts, music, poetry, among many other topics. In The Basques, Baroja eschews grand theory in any guise (be it of sweeping culture areas and cycles, Marxist, ahistorical functionalist, or structuralist) in favor of concretely defined culture areas that must be understood in their own historical terms. He defends the primacy of cultural differences in human affairs, including their capacity to define distinctive ethnic groups. Baroja specifically eschewed explanations of human difference as expressions of inherent racial propensities (a postulate that still informed at least some of the social scientific thinking of his day). In the foregoing regards the author proved to be thoroughly modern and even visionary; as always, however, his journey to such conclusions deviated from conventional pathways. Throughout his career, Caro's gaze wandered over a vast array of subjects, but Basque Studies remained his one abiding interest. The Basques is the cornerstone of that corpus and remains unique within Basque literature, as was its influence over subsequent generations of Basque Studies scholars.